tv The Communicators CSPAN April 5, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
the american people deserve better than that. a modern, efficient workforce development system is essential to our future. i believe in america, and i believe that our greatest days lie ahead. we need a straightforward commonsense illusion or american families and for helping get america back to work. thank you and god bless america. >> c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service. >> this past week, the federal communications commission made a decision that affects televisions asian owners. joining us to discuss this is gautham nagesh.
what did the fcc do? >> hi peter. the fcc voted to crack down on joint sales agreement. these are deals where there are two tvs asians in the same market. handling more than 15% of the ad sales or another station. you have a bigger station selling ads on behalf of a dollar station. when you say crackdown, what do you mean? >> these agreements have proliferated because there's been a wave of consolidation. this has led to some instances would be inmpany violation of the fcc limit of owning one station in every market. to get around those limits, they find an executive or an entrepreneur with whom they have some connection and a sign one of these agreements.
thatding to the fcc, sidecar arrangement serves as a way for one company to control both stations. they are often sharing resources. the fcc believes that this is a violation. >> has there been a lot of consolidation in the local televisions asian market after dark >> exactly. a few days -- a few big companies have been buying up nations left and right. picture has improved significantly due to political spending. we also see local broadcast asians rising ahead of the incentive option. reasons, wey of have seen companies consolidate their positions in the broadcast tv market. they have brought stations across the country.
some groups have been very aggressive. sinclair,company like how many television stations do they own? >> i do not know the number off the top of my head. something in excess of 100 stations. they have a number of these joint sales agreement in place. they are one of the top companies that will be impacted. broadcasters can get waivers if they prove that these agreements are necessary to keep a smaller station afloat so they can provide local programming. tomost cases, they are going be forced to unwind these agreements. these smaller stations that were relying on the larger stations to sell ads for them will have to hire salespeople themselves. we may see these stations sold. -- rmstrong williams antham nagesh could
affiliate own more than one station in one city? >> there are nuances, but you can only own one of the big four. arearger markets, there exceptions where you can own one big station and one small station. in effect, you are only allowed to own one. abc, nbc, and cbs in each market. sinclair recently made a deal to buy some stations. when they buy a package, they may already have a station in that market. before, they used to set up these right car deals to get the grounds that. they would find an entrepreneur who would be nominally the owner of the station. everything would be handled by the larger company. because these agreements have been banned, they will have to restructure these agreements. in some cases, you may see the station gets old.
>> the national association of broadcasters that a statement angered the public interest will not be served by this arbitrary and capricious decision. what will happen next? can there be an appeal? >> most people expect some sort of lawsuit. there may be an appeal by the broadcasters. the language is so arbitrary and capricious. they will argue that the fcc is making an arbitrary distinction. in the past, the fcc has green lit these arrangements. there is a new chairman who actually has a background in the pay-tv industry as the head of the cable industry trade association. it is not surprising to many people that he is taking this action. the fcc also took another action where they banned stations from
teaming up on retransmission consent negotiations. they negotiate with cable providers for money. this is an issue where the cable providers have been complaining. charming wheeler has responded to that complaint. it is a tough time to be a broadcaster. , what is thegesh timeframe on this? >> they have two years. they cannot seek waivers. if the waiver can show that this is a station that would not be able to serve its public with local programming or news programming, there is a chance for a smaller station that they could get a waiver approved. if the station is owned by a minority or a show that it has used the diversity in the media, that is another example where they might get a waiver. that is relevant for a entrepreneur who owns multiple
stations and they have joint sales agreement. for other stations, they will have to probably unwind these agreements within two years. the language indicates that most applications will be denied. they will do so within 90 days. the fcc has committed to this. we will have a pretty good idea of what will happen in the near term. it will append whatever legal action the broadcasters decide to take. >> was this a partisan vote where the democrats voted in favor? -- reflective of the boss of the and the arguments that have been made by the broadcasters. become aot necessarily partisan issue. the broadcasters have been aggressively lobbying against these changes. this is a blow for the broadcast industry.
particularly, the largest companies. they will have to divest some of these stations. it will be expensive. republican commissioner has been more sympathetic to these arguments. a democrat was also sympathetic to some of those concerns, especially as it would affect some of the minority opened stations. that is why the waiver props as had language that would encourage media ownership diversity to be approved. the democrats backed wheeler. that is not surprising, given his vision. there was definitely a lot of blowback from the broadcasters. >> my understanding is that there's is only one african-american station owner in the country. that is in jackson, mississippi. >> i believe there are two. there's armstrong williams, who owns two stations.
there is one other station owner in chicago. that person had previously marked multiple racial categories. it was not clear if they were african-american. it is correct. it is down from 19 according to free press. that is a group that opposes media consolidation. diversity among ownership is a real concern. given that we are in the second term of the first african-american president. we are faced with the lowest point in media diverse city. coversham nagesh technology and policy for the wall street journal. joining us now is that television owner we have been talking about, armstrong williams how does this decision affect you? obviously, i am encouraged by
.ommissioner clyburn's concerns if anyone knows my history, i have always been someone who put myself out as a minority. i celebrate diversity. you must have relationships. it is a wonderful thing. people of all walks of life can own the stations. to filected my lawyers the waiver already. it will be done this week. i believe them to be sincere. weour waiver is accepted, will be exempted from this process. it is much more than just me. i will perceive as a minority owner. i already operates two stations
in myrtle beach and flint michigan. when we were trying to secure financing by the stations, jpmorgan flat out told us that there was no way they would loan is money unless we get one of the big guys to guarantee our load. me, i have known a broadcaster for 15 years. we have talked about my owning broadcast stations for the last 10 years. i was not that interested because what it would ire -- $1.4 million. that is all well and good. but to actually operate that thaton, it is something you cannot even imagine. >> could you have done independently? when it comes to operating the stations and making them
profitable, can it be done? >> standalones agents cannot exist. that is why a man in missouri had to go bankrupt. they cannot make it. people across the board. people of all stripes cannot do it. this is a game for people like the sinclair's. they are the big boys. if you are not one of those, it is very difficult. you must compete for advertising dollars. they like to buy conglomerates. we are fortunate that we do not have to negotiate. where theyeements negotiated for us. thate do not understand they would take us off their systems. we would not even exist. we would go away.
it is important that we have someone with a proven record and broadcast to be therefore us and fight for us. if the banks were to loan me the money, let's just say we were to unwind my stations that exist now. , thed them in four months bank would come for me. i would no longer exist. i would go belly up. i speak for all mall broadcasters that are in the same predicament. , what isong williams your joint sales agreement with sinclair broadcasting? >> every side car agreement is not the same. that peoplemportant understand that.
normally, i have control over the programming. sinclair broadcasting said that they will put this on, but if i don't like it, they can't put it on. of the revenues that come in, 85% come to me and 50% go to sinclair. that 85% pays for the entire operation of that asian. let me give you an example. meflint, michigan, it cost $6.5 million a year. that is almost $20,000 a day. remember this. -- ad to get jpmorgan >> be $50 million? ismy payment to jpmorgan roughly $130,000 a month. that is debt.
if you want to improve your bottom line, the programming, the operations -- i am all over the country. we cater to the local market. that is a very important. i agree with that. programseen doing where we are not paid and we get no advertisement. we are not paid. it is something we want to do for the community. it is unbelievable. we went back to myrtle beach and we did a town hall meeting on domestic violence. people call in real life threatening situations where we had the chief of police and the attorney general for south , they actually were there to help people out of those threatening situations. countryrolina leads the in domestic violence. in flint, michigan, where
we have done local broadcasting. they cannot even afford to do community programming. we are community-oriented. we give them business and we deal education. we show them that we care. we are very active and involved. we had a station that did not have news. you are making money in the local market. that news operation costs us. it is not cheap. this is not for the faint hearted. this is what people need to get back to her station so that we can be channel 21 in myrtle beach. we put them back in place. if sinclair is our financial there was an ice storm in south carolina. it destroyed her generator.
for 16 off the air hours. wasepair our generator $400,000. these are the kind of expenses you cannot calculate. my 2-3s no way that with television stations that i could not afford this without the joint services agreement. are actually running her station. we are involved. i am on the phone with my general managers almost daily. phone constantly. there are all kinds of issues. we asked them when we go down. i introduced myself to the staff. we asked him why our numbers are dismal. we do not have boots on the ground. we have to take camera operators, injure people. people/ -- anchor
that causes almost $350,000. you do not have that kind of money if you go to the situation with debt. we have a conglomerate that answers the early questions. largest single-owner broadcast system in the country. they are very supportive. they are not involved. we are making progress. you can see how the morale has been built out. go out and got these tv stations. they take the money out. us, i am inat for this for the long term. this is what attracted me to the business. i think i got the key.
guess what is in the package? he showed me the myrtle beach station. it is near where i draw. i said, i have to do it. it is a blessing. >> 15% of the revenue -- 5%. >> do you consult with him on anything that you are doing? >> we are independent. of coarse. if i am involved as i want with them, we are friends. i was his advice. the good news, and this is a blessing, if my his rate. my background. they on in my career, i was coo of a cable network. i was there for almost 3-4 years. sinclairen involved in
for 12 or 13 years. there is an outfit that airs my syndicated tv show. it has been on the air for a long time. in general involved content. that what i bring to television is the programming. the town hall meetings that speak directly to the community. i had heard of the wall street journal. a lot of these guys have experience. i am a broadcaster. it is my history and it is where i put most of my time. , laurenrong williams wilson from free press posted recently about this. she posted about you personally. i cannot letman, this rhetoric go unchecked. under the arrangement sinclair
, payroll, sales, and related services, sinclair has the right to choose up to 25 hours of programming. of the 168 14.88% hour week. fcc rules require ownership attribution in instances where a broadcaster programs more than 15% of another asian hot content -- stations content. >> she works for free press. they talked about me on their website. they talk about the reason why minorities and others cannot get into the broadcast industry is lack of capital. i am very clear that without , wearer's financial support
could not do what we do. i do not want to go bankrupt. i do not want to shortchange my employees who are dedicated to making this work in the local market. i consider sinclair as a blessing. anybody was candid, they would say the same. anybody in the broadcast industry would not exist. this is the only vehicle in play. it ensures that others have a shot at becoming a broadcaster in this country. the numbers are dismal. why are they dismal? money. i do not have it. the fact is, they say, i cannot do it anymore. i want to be in this business, but i cannot order it. with my agreement with sinclair,
i will not have that problem. , they decision yesterday said -- the fact that lauren wilson said, as a black woman, i cannot let this rhetoric go unchecked, how much of this is about race? >> let me think about that. -- i do not think this is about race. aboutk this is affordability. this is about specialist space. this is about cable owners who do not want to pay us for content. they want our content for free. sixthey will pay espn dollars per subscriber. they only pay us $.25. that is what this issue boils down to. it has nothing to do with race.
if you want to know the bottom line is, all of the money trail. >> your friends and former washington post editor, juan -- my suspicion is that liberals that the f ec claim to be interested in promoting diverse ownership, but they lose interest if the owner is conservative. that's he is definitely my thends and i appreciate reaffirmation of what he is saying in terms of ownership and how important it is that we have an opportunity. it is important for other minorities, in particular black, to see that america is a place of opportunity. it is a place where you can progress. i remember when the reverend al
sharpton was involved in the comcast universal deal. he talked about how bad it was. we have his progress. some little black kid in the classroom walking through an airport, they will see all sharpton and have the hope that maybe america is that shining city on the hill. there are opportunities for them. it is important that people need tosee themselves in order believe that the american dream is happening. i see myself as i become a broadcast owner of stock the reaction from young people, they think i am so low. they understand this thing called tv vote they think the fact that you can own tv is a big deal. i celebrate that. do not think all the small station owners in this country look like me or share my politics. they are just as impacting as i am. >> armstrong williams, did you
meet would be fcc commissioners before this vote? what did they expect from you? >> i met with commissioner clyburn. you know, i didn't really give much weight to the meeting with the commissioners. i had been running around, ownership,igure out because my deal was only approved recently. the issues of the television stations, i did not have time to hold my head above water. as i was looking at what was going on and seeing how different broadcast owners were going into me commissioners, i said, i should do the same. i sent a letter and made the request. i have known her for a long time. i asked for a meeting. she said yes. we went in and she didn't say much. she was very open, you could tell.
ever at therst time fcc. i had never been there before. >> what is the application process like for them is the license? >> only my lawyers can answer that. that language will be released. we will find out what the guidelines are and the process. we will make sure that happens. >> if your waiver is not approved, what happens? >> i have not thought about that much, peter. i am an entrepreneur. as an entrepreneur and a business owner, we are constantly asking ourselves -- my goal in life is to reproduce myself. what do i mean by that? i will reproduce myself and others. i want to mentor an associate with young people. -- i finds resume
that no matter what the outcome is, as an entrepreneur, i will find a way to continue my television stations and much more. >> we have been talking with televisions asian owner, -- station owner, armstrong williams. he has a station inside and not, michigan and myrtle beach. >> c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite providers. >> on the next "washington farzad looks at the process of high rickety trading.
consists of using advanced consider algorithms and high-speed data networks to execute trades. and our guest from the brookings institution reviews the elections in afghanistan. we will take your calls and you can join the conversation via facebook and twitter. live at 7:00 a.m. >> on wednesday, the supreme court ruled unanimously that a customer cannot do after being thrown out of a frequent flyer program. reachesota rabbi claimed of contract after they were thrown out of a frequent-flier program for filing too many service complaint. actairline deregulation prevents his complaint. the case is northwest versus inferred. the oral argument is one hour.
>> we hear argument first this morning in case 12462, northwest incorporated versus rabbi ginsberg. mr. clement? >> mr. chief justice, may it please the court. under this court's decision there are only two relevant questions and the ninth circuit got both of them wrong. first question is whether a claim for additional benefits under a frequent flyer program like price upgrades relate to price and routes and services. this court answered that question and agreed that it was not particularly close. to reach the same conclusion in the same context underscores how far they've strayed from this court's precedence. affirmatived indeed, underscored the question was not particularly close. the ninth circuit's ability to reach the contrary conclusion in the precise same context underscores how far they have strayed from this court's precedence. the second question is whether the plaintiff's claims here seek merely to enforce the party's voluntary undertakings or rather seek to enforce state law